SGBC Modesto

The Future Pastor of Your Church

March 2, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Years ago I went to a seminar held at the GARBC National Conference.  I don’t remember the teacher or year but I do remember the concept.  The idea was to raise up one in your church to replace you when your time is up.  I also remember how impossible it all seemed to me.

I had a number of assistants already such as youth pastors, visitation pastors and music pastors. They were all strong minded like me and none would I put my support behind to replace me someday.  This caused personal doubts about myself; was the problem me? How much of the problem was me?  I have learned since then that many churches with more than one pastor have the same situation but not all.  Nevertheless, I could not deny in principle that the message of the seminar seemed right.  Enter the providence of God.

In 2001 I started a new church. A few from the past joined in the new plant.  Among them was a young couple who was an excellent youth teacher.  Little did I know all that God had planned for His new church plant.  I had talked to this young man about my sincere belief that God would have him in the ministry and he should consider seminary. This was slow in coming due to having a wife and two children and no money.  The new church plant was doing well but we could not help with his money need as we were saving faithfully for a building some day.  At last he started to school and will graduate this year having driven two nights a week, 180 miles a trip.  Members of the church did help with gas and the school waved the tuition.

In the middle of his seminary training, the church called him as the assistant pastor and paid him one-fourth time.  He was getting first hand pastoral experience doing ¼ of the preaching and holding down a part time job.  In order for this to happen I was paid only ¾ time.  The next year it became half time for the assistant and half time for me. In 2009 the assistant became full time and I became ¼ time.  We were able to purchase a building in Feb 2008.

My opinion is that the church will call him unanimously when the soon day of my departure comes.  The advantages to this are many.  He is no stranger to me so I can recommend him out of full knowledge.  He is no stranger to the congregation for they have witnessed his pastoring and have been blessed by it.  The church will not be disrupted by changes a pastor from elsewhere might bring.  There will be no migration of people to other churches when the Senior Pastor steps down.  The church has been blessed to have witnessed a sweet harmony, a one mindedness between the senior pastor and the assistant pastor.  This is something that is rare when good men are brought in to be youth, music, or assistant pastors.  This is due primarily to the fact that the assistant pastor’s church experience has been at this church.

I strongly recommend if you are a pastor in your 60’s to see if God has given you in your congregation the future pastor of your church.